MIAMI (BP)–Fifty-four new missionaries were urged to depend on the Lord, one another and Southern Baptists as they go to their part of the North American mission field.
The North American Mission Board commissioned 18 husband and wife couples and 18 individuals Feb. 20 to serve as church planters, evangelism specialists and associational missionaries during Wayside Baptist Church’s morning worship in Miami. The new missionaries, 17 of whom are US/C 2 student missionaries, will serve in 18 states, Washington, D.C., and three Canadian provinces.
The international context for the commissioning service in Miami was underscored during the commissioning prayer in Spanish by Wayside member Rebecca Spam.
“He understands our prayers no matter what language we pray in,” Spam said. “He understands every language and every heart.”
Wayside pastor Gary Johnson commented to the missionaries, their families and other out-of-town guests on Miami’s multi-cultural nature by saying, “All you have to do to experience other cultures here in Miami is go outside your home. If you just go out to pick up your newspaper, you’ll see that your neighbors speak other languages and are from other cultures. And we’re called to share Christ with every one of them.”
During the commissioning service each missionary couple and individual gave their name, ministry focus and place of service, and each closed by asking the congregation to remember them in prayer as they go to their mission field.
Chuck Allen, NAMB’s executive vice president, encouraged the new missionaries as well as Wayside members to minister together, like Peter and John the apostles in Acts 3.
“Today, we are to do our work, our ministries, together,” Allen said. “He doesn’t expect you [missionaries] to do all the work by yourself. God’s not counting on you to reach Montana or New York City or Canada by yourself any more than he’s expecting you church members to reach your school or place of business or neighborhood by yourself. He tells us we are to work together.”
Speaking to Wayside’s members, Allen said, “These missionaries don’t have a chance of making a difference without you, your church, and every church and member in the Southern Baptist Convention supporting them. They need your prayer support, giving support and volunteer service alongside them.
“Peter and John didn’t tell the lame man in Acts 3, ‘We have people in our church who minister to people like you’ or ‘We have special people who are called missionaries who will minister to you,'” Allen said. “Instead, they said, ‘Look at us. Get up and walk.’ Then, they didn’t send him to church, they took him to church so the people would see evidence of God’s power.
“People are sitting by the gate everywhere we turn today,” Allen said, “and nothing matters unless together we stop and say, ‘In the name of Jesus Christ, get up’ so that the Lord will be glorified.”